There are thousands of decks on homes in Maryland, Virginia and D.C.
and many are rotten, wobbly & dangerous
This is a picture of a deck post. As you can see, the post is rotten. In fact, all of the support posts for this deck were in varying stages of decay. The house had been flipped and the Flipper put new wood on the top of the deck but left the old posts and support structure underneath the decking.
Thanks to a very good home inspector, I now know what to look out for when touring a home with a deck.
As Realtors, it's our job to look for what is right and what is wrong with every property. We aren't home inspector but we should use our experience & knowledge to protect our clients best interest. It is in our clients best interest to know if a home they may buy has a rotten deck.We've all seen the headlines,
"Deck (porch or balcony) Collapses and Kills..."
and the real tragedy is that it's preventable. The International Code Council offers guidelines on deck construction. The ICC website has a deck fastening and connection guide. If you're having a deck built, be sure the deck company is fully licensed.
If you're buying a home with a deck, look for the following deck problems:
- Split or rotting wood, especially at the base of the posts. Posts should be on concrete or stone pads.
- Loose or missing screws, nails or anchors, particularly where the deck attaches to the house.
- Missing or rotted support beams
- Bolts attaching the deck to the house should be screws not nails.
- Wobbly handrails and decks with too much give
- Standing under the deck and next to the house, look up to see if there is a gap between the deck and house.
Finally, according to nadra.org, a thru-bolt offers great support. The bolt is inserted into a drilled hole and fitted with a nut on the other side. A washer on both sides spreads the pulling force over a larger portion of the beam. These bolts are large and attach the deck to the house. A home inspector should be able to identify these bolts.
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